Quest For the Perfect Stroller

My mother will tell you I have an obsession. Or a couple: car seats and strollers. Strollers came first, way back when I had my oldest who will be 13 years old this month. Started with your usual travel system stroller that fit the infant car seat on it. A feature I used exactly zero times because he vehemently hated all car seats for his first 8-9 months. It was slightly cutesy, a Safety1st run of the mill stroller with a teddy bear on it. I hated it. Couldn’t push it with hand, which was what I was always trying to do because rather than being IN the stroller my child preferred to be carried. His stroller was just a cart for his stuff. The brake was hard to do with flip flops. Something always seemed to be not working exactly as I wanted it to. So I got rid of it within a couple months and set out to find another.

At that time I realized they had this amazing thing: strollers where your baby could face you! I was so excited and decided I had to have one of those. They came in two varieties: either you moved the handle back and forth or you flipped the direction of the seat. I preferred the handle moving, it was easier. But they were few and far between. Oddly enough it was a very common feature on older strollers. My oldest was born in 2004 so by older I mean 80s, early 90s-ish. Those old polka dotted Graco things that pushed awfully but the handle flipped back and forth. And they never had a parent tray or a kid tray. So I set out to find the ideal stroller where baby could face me or the world with a baby tray and a parent tray.

I felt incredibly lucky when I found an older Peg Perego Aria at a thrift store for $4. Ostensibly there because the material on the inside of the canopy was torn up. I figured I could fix that. I really liked that stroller. Better than the other 3 I’d found anyway, that I cleaned and resold. Then I found a Kolcraft Ranger Quattro stroller and despite the pesky recall on it I set out to buy one used. Here’s a pic from the recall:

Briefly I earnestly sought out a Graco CoachRider but discovered before it was too late that it wasn’t likely to fit in the trunk of my ’99 Honda Civic Coupe. I think right about that time I gave up on having a stroller with my first. He didn’t like it anyway and for all the trying different ones he was unimpressed with them all and wanted to be held or to walk.

The next time around with babies, 10 years later, I knew I had little patience with ‘big box’ strollers from Wal-Mart and knew it may need to last more than one child so I only considered higher end models. Modular strollers are what’s popular so I got a used Britax Vigour with a crappy canopy. It veered to one side when we used it and the basket was pretty small. It hardly got used, though, because I used a baby sling or a baby wrap most of the time. I sold it when I got pregnant with our third baby and started looking at doubles. I do still have a single because I won a GB Lyfe travel system after the third boy (all boys so far!) was born. The seat was reversible and converted into a bassinet. And it was free!! I bought a used Contours Options stroller for our double and thought I was set. Until I realized the newer model Contours Options Elite was much, much better, and prettier, and sold the used one to get a new one. THEN I really thought that was it. And the GB Lyfe and Contours Options Elite lasted for well over a year.

While pregnant with our third I started having a really hard time pushing the Options Elite. I try to get out and walk every day with them, but together they are more than 60lbs of kid plus diaper bag (big diaper bag) and my carpal tunnel wrists couldn’t handle it. Apparently a side by side double is much easier to push than a tandem. So…I started shopping again. And buying again. I looked at the oft loved CMGT, Baby Jogger City Mini double. But I hated it. The basket was unaccessible because of a bar on the bottom rear. And the seats needed additional straps to help hold them more upright than the naturally reclined position they were in. Plus it didn’t have my main requirement of a stroller: option to have baby(ies) face me.


But as it turns out very few double strollers have this parent facing option past the little baby phase, at least not in the side by sides. And the tandem options were mainly Baby Jogger City Select which pushed like a bear and had the kids so close together someone’s foot would be in the other’s face, and the UppaBaby Vista which had limitations in the low weight limit of the rumble seat, though it is very easy to push. I checked out StrollAir My Duo, but it has some serious quality issues so I crossed it off the list. Valco made one that’s now very hard to find and expensive so I skipped that, too. I immediately eliminated the Bugaboo Donkey for being extremely heavy, cumbersome, having a too low weight limit, and feeling sluggish when pushed. As well as the exorbitant price. And I realized then parent facing seats weren’t happening on my double. I resigned myself and decided I really wanted a Peg Perego Book For Two because anyone online who had one raved about the one handed push. Upon seeing the almost $700 price tag, though, I assumed I wouldn’t be getting one.

I waited for a Britax B-Agile double to pop up for sale locally and when it did, in a pretty blue color called peacock to boot, I snapped it up.


It was easier to push, but not in the excellent condition I’d hoped. And then Book For Two show up open box on Amazon Warehouse deals the very next day (what are the odds?!). So my understanding husband agreed we could get the Peg stroller and see if it was better. We were both shocked when it got here at exactly how easy it is to push. Seriously: one handed with 60+ pounds of kids in it and a heavy diaper bag. If the seats parent faced it would be perfect. It is absolutely it’s only drawback. Stay tuned for an upcoming review on it. At the point we bought the Peg there was then 3 double strollers and 3 singles in the garage. Luckily I’ve since whittled it down to 2 doubles and a single. One more double to sell. Just hard to let go of the parent facing option, even if I can’t hardly push it. I think we’re done stroller shopping now. Barring the addition of twins one day or something. I reserve the right to change that.



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